I don't know if lawyers from C-USA and the aforementioned television partners are finalizing language, or if C-USA is indeed moving on and working with, say, Sinclair's American Sports Network, as a single rightsholder. C-USA could also be making sure they dot every "i" and cross every "t" since the last time their rights were up for bid a lawsuit was filed, when the FOX Sports deal came out of nowhere after everyone assumed the ESPN deal was being completed.
I looked for media interviews with C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod this week and the only one I found was with Birmingham's WJOX and it, understandably, focused on UAB and nothing was asked about future TV rights.
* The Ivy League has relented and added a four school tournament in both men's and women's basketball starting next season, a Saturday-Sunday event at the Palestra in Philadelphia, and that location is a stroke of genius. Anyways, I've always held the belief that the conference doesn't need TV money to balance budgets in athletics, though I doubt they'd turn it down either. So who would televise future Ivy League tournaments? It's hard to say. The championship game would on Selection Sunday. Looking at the existing networks on the comparable date in 2017 using 2016 games, plus the knowledge that the Pac-12 championship will be on ESPN, here's Saturday:
ABC - Evening NBA
ESPN - SEC semis & three P5 MBK championships (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12)
ESPN2 - American semis & five championships (America East, MEAC, MAC, Southland, Big West)
ESPNU - One WBK final (WAC), three MBK finals (WAC, SWAC & Big Sky) & two men's lacrosse games
FOX - NASCAR Xfinity Racing & Big East MBK championship
FS1 - Live NASCAR practices & qualifying, C-USA MBK championship, Formula E Racing, AMA Supercross.
FS2 - Bundesliga & FA Cup. Most of evening was rerun programming.
NBC - PGA golf & EPL replay (could be live EPL in 2017)
NBCSN - Live Premier League in the morning, auto auctions, Premiership Rugby, cycling & other various taped programming.
CBS - Big Ten semis & MW championship
CBSSN - A-10 MBK semis & two WBK finals (Patriot League & C-USA)
Sunday would be a tad more constricted, but there are options for the final
ABC - IndyCar & afternoon NBA
ESPN - SEC & American championships
ESPN2 - Sun Belt championship
ESPNU - Two WBK finals (Horizon League & NEC)
FOX - NASCAR in mid-afternoon
FS1 - FA Cup & NASCAR pre-race
FS2 - Bundesliga & CONCACAF U-17 3rd place & championship
NBC - NHL & PGA
NBCSN - EPL and auto auctions
CBS - A-10 & Big Ten finals
CBSSN - Southland WBK final & taped/studio programming
If I were to guess, here's some potential options
ABC & ESPN Networks - WBK on ESPN3 with final on ESPN3 or ESPNEWS. Men's semifinals on ESPN3 or ESPNEWS with the final on ESPN2 after the Sun Belt.
FOX Sports - There's a dependency as to whether FOX would continue with C-USA. FS1 did budget for an Ivy League playoff this season and it would have followed the C-USA final and, presumably, the Formula E race would have aired on FS2. Two possibilities:
- If C-USA sticks around: One MBK semi on FS2, one on FS1. MBK final on FS1 after NASCAR pre-race (2:30pm ET).
- If C-USA is gone: Both MBK semis and the final on FS1.
WBK could air on FS2, FSGo or remain in the hands of the conference for Ivy League Digital Network. FSN isn't really an option for the Ivies because several of the schools reside in areas where there isn't a full-time FSN affiliate. FOX could work to clear games on NESN, CSN New England or CSN Philly but if they wanted to have their games syndicated, ASN could be a better proposition, though there were times that ASN didn't air some Ivy League games live in home markets, such as a couple Columbia games airing delayed.
FOX College Sports has also carried Ivy League football in recent season, but I believe a championship event like this would be out of the question as an exclusive on that suite of channels.
NBCSN, to me, is a real option. Has an open slate in the middle of the afternoon. Might be the best option.
CBSSN seems to be out, unless they were to take only a championship game and leave the other games with the conference to do what they want. C-USA is also a consideration here and maybe CBSSN could take on game on Saturday and Sunday if C-USA moves elsewhere.
What also isn't known here is if a conference would shift their dates to earlier to carve out a spot for the Ivy League, or if there's a dark horse, like Turner Sports, who could bid on something like this.